Joe Kernan (D)
Seeking: Governor, IN
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Kernan is seeking his first full term as governor.
Joe Kernan served as South Bend's city controller from 1980 to 1984. He was elected mayor of South Bend in 1987, 1991 and again in 1995, when he won with more than 82 percent of the vote. He is the longest serving mayor in the city's history.
In 1996, Frank O'Bannon and Joe Kernan were elected to the top two positions in Indiana government. The O'Bannon-Kernan team was elected for a second term in 2000. On September 13, 2003, Kernan was sworn in as Indiana's 48th governor following Governor O'Bannon's tragic death.
The St. Joseph's High graduate was a catcher on the baseball team at the University of Notre Dame, and graduated from there in 1968 with a degree in Government.
Kernan entered the United States Navy in 1969 and served as a Naval Flight Officer aboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. In May of 1972, Kernan was shot down by the enemy while on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. He was held as a prisoner of war for nearly 11 months. Kernan was repatriated in 1973 and continued on active duty with the Navy until December 1974. For his service, Kernan received numerous awards, including the Navy Commendation Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross.